Pubdate: Sat, 14 Apr 2018
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2018 Postmedia Network


The decision isn't without controversy, but city council was wise to
ban the use of marijuana in public places.

When the federal government legalizes cannabis later this summer,
Calgarians won't be able to smoke, vape or eat products made with the
substance in public spaces, unless they're a medical marijuana user.

That's led critics of the decision to complain that people who live in
multi-family dwellings may not be able to use the drug.

"It's not an insignificant group of people - 36 per cent of Calgarians
are renters," Coun. Evan Woolley said when the restriction was being
discussed by council. "And effectively, we are saying there is no
space for you to consume cannabis, and that's a problem for me."

Council is simply treating marijuana like we treat tobacco and liquor.
Presumably, the people who won't be able to smoke pot in their units,
are already prevented from lighting up a cigarette indoors - just as
they're prevented from doing so in parks and other public areas.

And Calgarians aren't permitted to drink a glass of wine as they
stroll down the street, so why should they be allowed to take a drag
on a marijuana joint?

The ban on using marijuana in public is also justified because of its
distinct, skunky smell. There's no reason why other people should be
subjected to the odour.

The city's policy mirrors regulations that are in place in other North
American jurisdictions. Public consumption is prohibited in all nine
American states where cannabis is legal, including Colorado,
California and Nevada.

"We believe that the decisions that council has made regarding
cannabis strike a mindful balance between citizen feedback, best
practices of other jurisdictions and practical considerations based on
existing bylaws," Matt Zabloski, a city official, said in a news release.

City council has instructed staff to explore the creation of
designated cannabis smoking areas, so there's still the possibility
Calgarians who can't use the drug indoors will have a place to light
up in the future.

Medical officer of health Dr. Brent Friesen made a good point when he
said the bylaw should not stigmatize users, but it shouldn't normalize
marijuana use either.

The doctor said it is essential not to create an environment where
young people see adults smoking and vaping marijuana, thinking that it
is the customary thing to do.

Council made the right call in banning pot smoking in public. Just
because it's legal, doesn't mean Calgarians have to be subjected to
the sight and smell of it.
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MAP posted-by: Matt